Of the 78 sets of medals awarded at the Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympics, 76 were biathlon, cross-country skiing, Alpine skiing and snowboard ©Getty Images

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has formally transferred the governance of Para Alpine skiing, Nordic skiing and snowboard to the International Ski and Snowboard Federation (FIS), while the same organisation is to share responsibility for Para biathlon with the International Biathlon Union (IBU).

The changes come into effect from today.

Para biathlon is to be managed by the IBU but with FIS assistance, under the guise of a joint Steering Committee.

It is proposed that Para biathlon will be integrated into FIS Para sport events, with the IBU's biathlon expertise and the fact that there is a broad overlap of Para biathlon and Para cross-country athletes cited as reasons for pursuing this cooperation.

The President and secretary general of both the FIS and IBU will sit on the Steering Committee.

The IPC is in the process of relinquishing serving as the International Federation (IF) for a number of sports as part of governance reforms.

With these four going, the IPC is now the IF for six sports.

It plans to have transferred the governance of these to other organisations by 2026.

Para snowboard now comes under the remit of the FIS ©Getty Images
Para snowboard now comes under the remit of the FIS ©Getty Images

This process has been blamed by organisers of the 2023 World Para Snow Sports Championships in Jämtland for their decision to call off the event.

However, both the IBU and FIS have stressed a commitment to developing the Paralympic disciplines they now govern.

"We are delighted to have reached this agreement with the IPC, look forward to becoming an IPC member and thank them for their support as we welcome Para biathlon to the IBU family," IBU President Olle Dahlin said.

"Growing biathlon and making our sport as accessible as possible are key priorities and bringing Para biathlon under the IBU umbrella is fully aligned with these objectives set out in our strategic plan Target 26. 

"We are grateful to FIS for their cooperation and look forward to working with them through the Steering Committee to ensure the continued development of Para biathlon around the world."

FIS President Johan Eliasch echoed those thoughts, saying "Para snow sports is a testament to all the values that our sport transmits and an integral part of our strategy". 

At the FIS Congress in Milan in May, 94 per cent of delegates voted in favour of the organisation assuming governance responsibilities for three Para ski and snowboard disciplines.

"FIS represents a modern, diverse and inclusive organisation," Eliasch continued. 

The IBU and FIS are forming a joint Steering Committee to oversee Para biathlon governance ©Getty Images
The IBU and FIS are forming a joint Steering Committee to oversee Para biathlon governance ©Getty Images

"Therefore, it is a great pleasure that we have been in an excellent exchange with the International Paralympic Committee and are finally able to include the Para disciplines and their athletes in the FIS family. 

"This will strengthen the development of the sport and send a powerful message."

Para ski and snowboard disciplines, plus Para biathlon, represent the vast majority of medal events at the Winter Paralympic Games.

Of the 78 sets of medals awarded at Beijing 2022, just two - in wheelchair curling and Para ice hockey - belonged to other sports.

"On behalf of the IPC, I would like to pay tribute to every single person who has contributed to the development of Para Alpine skiing, Para cross-country and Para snowboard while the sports have been under the stewardship of the IPC," IPC President Andrew Parsons said.

"Undoubtedly, the three sports will leave the IPC much stronger than when they joined and are now ready for their next stage of growth under the guidance of FIS."

Parsons added that the "IPC and IBU showed a common vision about the future or Para biathlon since the beginning of the discussions about the transfer of governance".